Euthanasia W10 - Issues in Bioethics: Study Guide for Quiz...

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Issues in Bioethics: Study Guide for Quiz 3 Euthanasia Winter 2010 I. Definition of Euthanasia: What is euthanasia? What should a good definition of “euthanasia” look like? NB: Attempt to clarify what a proper definition of euthanasia might be, does not imply endorsement either for or against euthanasia. (from P. Foote, “Euthanasia”) A. The OED Definition and its Problems Greek etymology (origin) of word euthanasia; eu = good + thanatos = death How “good” is this definition? Shorter OED def’n of euthanasia: o “a quiet and easy death” o “The means of procuring this” o “the action of inducing a quiet and easy death” (100) NB: a murderer who carefully drugged his victim and thus caused “a quiet and easy death” could claim he was doing euthanasia. Thus OED def’n inadequate , specifying only manner of death (how death is brought about). B. What a “Good” Definition Might Look Like Euthanasia must mean that o death itself is good or kind, not just the manner of death (how death is brought about) o the death is a “happy” event for person who dies (in accord with Greek etymology of the word), and never primarily for “society,” “family” or anyone else. Nazi Germany also had “Euthanasia” program but defined it as ending lives the authorities (not the person who was to be killed) believed were “lives unworthy of life”. Nazi Germany saw victims of their euthanasia program as a burden on society. o That it is the genuine will of the person who dies, meaning: Competence : person is competent to decide freely and is not dominated by depression, other psychological impairment and is able to make rational decision (of “sound mind”). Those too young or affected by senility disqualified? not pressured to please or otherwise accommodate others (“not being a burden” on the family, society, etc…) C. Questions to answer & think about: Q1. What does it mean to die well? Does it simply mean “a quick and painless death”? Q2. Would a good death be one in which a person was coerced, even subtly by relatives friends, doctors or anyone else? Q3. What would a genuinely “good death” look like? Think about this: A death in which the person dies alone A death in which the person has no chance to “say goodbye” A death in which the person cannot clear up “unfinished business”
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A death in which the person cannot deal with his/her important relationships, etc… A death in which “spiritual matters” are not attended to.
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II. James Rachels “Active and Passive Euthanasia,” The New England Journal of Medicine , Vol. 292, January 9, 1975, pp. 78-80. http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/pecorip/scccweb/etexts/deathanddying_text/Active%20and
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This note was uploaded on 10/03/2010 for the course PHYS. 203-NYA-05 taught by Professor Ms.simpson during the Fall '09 term at Dawson College.

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Euthanasia W10 - Issues in Bioethics: Study Guide for Quiz...

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